The Review Process
The Editor-in-Chief, supported by the Associate Editors, is responsible for the content and all editorial matters related to the journal.
Manuscripts submitted to the journal are initially screened by the Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editors. If the manuscript appears to be suitable for the Journal, it is assigned to an Associate Editor who has the appropriate scientific expertise to determine appropriate reviewers for peer review. Generally, at least two referees are asked to review a paper. However, decisions on publication may be made with fewer or more reviews as required. Most decisions are made after one or two rounds of review.
Authors’ suggestions of appropriate reviewers and reviewers to exclude are considered when selecting reviewers. These suggestions are taken as recommendations only.
The Editor makes the final decision about whether a manuscript is accepted for publication. The Editor’s decision takes into account the recommendation of the expert reviewers; however, the final decision may not always match the reviewers’ recommendations. The Editor decides which recommendations to accept based upon the weight given to a particular reviewer’s opinion and adequate reviewer input to make a decision. When reviewers agree to assess manuscripts submitted to Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology, they are asked to address the following points presented in the manuscript:
- Are the findings original and have similar conclusions or analysis been published previously by the authors or others?
- Is the manuscript free of errors and ambiguities?
- Are the conclusions supported with carefully and clearly presented data and analysis?
- Is the manuscript written clearly?
- Will the manuscript have high impact in the field and is it within the scope of topics covered by the journal?
Based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the assigned Associate Editor issues one of the following decisions:
- Publish as is: The manuscript can be published, and no further changes are required.
- Minor revision: The manuscript could be published after minor revisions.
- Mandatory revision: The manuscript could be published after mandatory revisions; further review may be necessary.
- Reconsider after major revision: The manuscript might be published after major revision, but further review is necessary.
- Reject: The manuscript is not suitable for publication in the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A or B
We recommend strongly that authors who receive requests for major, mandatory or minor revisions follow the advice of the reviewers and associate editors. If this advice is not taken, rebuttals will be considered by the editor.
Typically, the editors will transmit all reviewer comments and questions to the authors without editing, except for typographical errors. Very infrequently, the editors may choose not to send reviews to the authors or may delete language that is inappropriate. Examples of such language include expletives or criticism involving the discipline, gender, race, or nationality of the authors. Similarly, if such language is encountered in the author responses or communication with the reviewers, the manuscript will be withdrawn by the editors without further review regardless of its technical merits. The Editors of JVST vow to treat the reviewers, authors, and each other with respect and expect the same from the authors and the reviewers.
Authors may appeal the decision to reject a manuscript. To be considered, a formal appeal must provide a case for further consideration. If referee reports were included with the rejection letter, then these criticisms must be responded to in the appeal.
Once an appeal is submitted, the editors collate all information relevant to the manuscript. This includes the cover letter, the communications with the authors, and referee reports, if any. This information is shared and discussed with the Editor-in-Chief, with all editors working on original research manuscripts, and with relevant editors in terms of expertise, who have no conflict of interest with the work presented. In some cases, a member of the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board will be consulted, also. The discussion is based on the manuscript under consideration, as well as on the range of submissions the journal receives in the area, the overall status of the field, and the editors’ expectations for a paper in the area.
If successful, an appeal can lead to the article’s review being resumed. Otherwise, the original rejection decision is upheld. The author of a paper that has been rejected after an appeal may request that the Publisher of AIP Publishing review the manuscript. The Publisher does not decide whether a manuscript should be accepted but rather assesses whether editors followed the proper procedures for reviewing the manuscript. If editors did not follow the proper procedures, they will review the manuscript again and decide whether to publish.
Policies surrounding Comments, Responses, and Errata
Comments and Responses
The purpose of Comments is to correct significant errors in articles published in the journal, to rebut conclusions reached, or to provide additional insight or corroboration. Comments must address scientific issues only and be concise, substantive, and contain no harsh criticism. We discourage Comments on questions of priority or calling attention to an oversight in a reference list. Generally, the editor will invite the authors of the Article in question to submit a Response. The Editor-in-Chief decides whether to accept a Comment and Response for publication only after the two parties have submitted final versions of their pieces. The Editor-in-Chief may send a Comment and Response to an adjudicator or reject them entirely.
The journal publishes Errata in which authors correct significant errors of substance in their published manuscripts. Errata should be clear and concise.